PCA Joins European Cigar Manufacturers Association in Commenting on the European Commission’s Legislative Framework for Tobacco Control

[Friday, June 17, 2022] Today the Premium Cigar Association submitted a comment to the European Commission in reference to its “Framework for Tobacco Control” related to the 2040 Tobacco Free agenda. This agenda would ultimately lead to the ban of sale and use of any tobacco or nicotine derived device from the European Union market by 2040. The first step in this full prohibition is the implementation of plain packaging, or close to plain packaging. Cigar boxes would be at least 80% covered in warning labels, grotesque images and standardized green color. This, if imposed, would now be across the European Union and cover all tobacco products. 

The Premium Cigar Association submitted a comment working alongside experts at the European Manufactures Association who are leading efforts in Europe to protect handmade cigars. PCA’s comment relied heavily on the health effects of premium cigar use not warranting graphic images or adopting more intrusive regulations than are already in existence. The European Union has some of the strictest tobacco laws in the world and high taxes.

If these restrictions are implemented in the European Union, other nations will likely follow suit. This is not based in science; it is based in the government admitting they do not believe you can make a decision on your own. The studies on the health effects of premium cigars are out there, the studies on youth access and usage are out there, and the studies of the declining rate of smoking are out there. Even with the available data showing that there is no need to take this simple pleasure away from people, here is just the most recent example of this kind of legislation gaining support. 

Joshua Habursky, the Deputy Executive Director of the Premium Cigar Association said: “Anti-tobacco groups have been organized globally for many years. It’s time that we start cooperating across borders to protect handmade cigars and we are grateful of ECMA Director General Paul Varkas for leading this effort. PCA is committed to our mission of protecting specialty tobacco retailing from Washington to Warsaw, Boston to Brussels and large cities to small towns.” 

Paul Varakas, the Director General of the European Cigar Manufacturers Association said: “With plain packaging and a full-flavour ban looming in the upcoming years, EU politicians need to be reminded that cigars are different from other tobacco and nicotine products. ECMA will continue to work with like-minded organizations all across the globe to deliver this simple – yet essential – message.

To further foster international discussion on premium cigar policy, PCA will be hosting a breakout session on Sunday July 10th at 2pm in Room 302 at the PCA 2022 Trade Show and an International Policy Summit (in-person) in Washington, DC on November 16th and 17th.

View Full Comment by the Premium Cigar Association to the European Commission.

View Full Comment by the European Cigar Manufacturer’s Association to the European Commission.

FDA Extends Flavored Cigar Comment Period

Today the FDA announced that it would be extending the public comment period opening from 60 to 90 days ending on August 2nd. This week PCA joined industry allies in requesting an extension but appealed for a 180-day extension so that the FDA could conduct better small business economic impacts studies and a study on the effects to international commerce and trade agreements. This week the FDA also hosted two listening sessions on the proposed rules on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. PCA requested to participate in the listening session but was denied speaking time at either session. 

“The FDA is mismanaging this process from the start. You have two very separate proposed rules, but they are being conflated together resulting in two 8-hour webinars where speakers are cherry-picked by the FDA with a lobsided majority cheerleading the regulations on” say Scott Pearce PCA Executive Director. “Denying an industry stakeholder, the opportunity to ask questions, challenge faulty assertions, and provide membership feedback is unacceptable.”

PCA will be submitting a comment to the public docket calling for the FDA to withdraw the proposed rule and is encouraging retailers and consumers to also weigh in against the rule through the web portal fightflavorbans.com. “The FDA is not going to have time to conduct the appropriate research that we are requesting for this propose rule, but the 30-day extension will provide more retailers the opportunity to weigh in against the flavor ban at the PCA 2022 Tradeshow and engage their consumers for more time.” says Habursky.